Apple Festival week gets underway with Youth Day, Dessert Crawl

Published 5:07 pm Monday, September 25, 2023

NILES — The Apple Festival grounds came to life Saturday with the area’s youngest while downtown visitors experienced a taste of what the festival had to offer.

As a precursor to the Apple Festival this weekend, the festival hosted its annual Youth Day Saturday. Festivities included a trike race, the Apple Festival Youth Parade and several games and activities.

“It was a great turnout,” said FFAAF VP of Administration Chuck Craig. “Thank you to all the organizations that had games for the kids to play. Thank you to the committee for all their hard work planning and setting up and thank you to the parents and kids that participated and to all of our sponsors that helped make it such a special day.” 

FFAAF Publicity Chairperson Jenna VanderVelden said the response to Youth Day was positive.

“We had a successful youth day, the weather was perfect and it is a great way to get excited for the Apple Festival,” she said.

Other Apple Festival-related events taking place last weekend were the Nolan Memorial Car show Sunday and the inaugural Apple Dessert Crawl Saturday. Hosted by the Niles Main Street DDA, the Apple Dessert Crawl allowed guests to try desserts from local businesses as they crawled through downtown. It was inspired by the success of this year’s Mac ‘n Cheese crawl as well as Hunter Ice Fest Chili Crawl.

Nine teams participated in the event:

Iron Shoe – Apple Pie Moonshine and a non-alcoholic cider

Veni’s – Apple Pie fudge

Niles High School Culinary Arts Students – Apple crumble

Apothica teas – Tiny Apple bunt cakes

Jim’s Smokin Cafe – Apple crisp – and all ingredients were made from scratch 

Niles Brewing Company – Brown sugar pop tart apple pie casserole 

2nd and Main – Gluten free apple crisp

Pizza Transit – Caramel apple pizza

and El Amigo pepe – A sweet and spicy apple salsa

The winners were voted on by the public, with Niles Brewing Company taking first place and Pizza Transit second. First place received a custom trophy and $100 and second place received $50.

“The Apple Crawl was super fun,” said event organizer Charles Nelson. “The DDA promotions committee is excited to work with businesses to put on these “crawls” and has plans to add more in the future. We’re always on the lookout for events to bring people downtown and into local businesses.”

The Four Flags Apple Festival begins Thursday, Sept. 28 at the Apple Festival grounds, located at the corner of Lake and 17th streets. With the theme “Apple Festival In Lights”, the 51st annual four-day event will ring in the fall season with all kinds of entertainment, activities and treats. Wristbands are $30.